I’m no fashion guru, and I certainly don’t have a lot of room to criticize other people’s wardrobe choices, but geez, the Olympics have brought out my inner Joan Rivers…
Join me on the Red Carpet..
Let's look first at the stylish outfits worn at the opening ceremonies:
I know Ralph Lauren designed these outfits (and they aren't truly hideous), but this just doesn't say "elite athlete" to me. It rather speaks of Grey Poupon mustard, pipes and brandy by the fire, and discussions of the Great War. I mean, honestly, these people are the best of the best; they are a miracle combination of genetics and training and technology, and this outfit makes them look like they're one bus stop from the old folks' home.
Next up, Snowboarding:
This is the official team outfit.
Snowpants made to look like ratty jeans? Come on, this is the Olympics: World-wide television, representing your country, making your mom so proud... I know you're snowboarders: you're cool, you're hip, and stoner-boy is the current trend. But today you are an Olympic athlete. Can you at least humor your mom and the IOC and wear something that doesn't look like you grabbed it off the dirty laundry heap on your bedroom floor?
I know, you snowboaders don't want to wear one of these:
And I can't really blame you. But surely there's a happy compromise in the middle.
So after posting that last picture, let's go ahead and talk lycra. I fully understand that these athletes are going for function over form. Substance over style. They need something that's warm, but doesn't add bulk or weight or restrict range of motion.
This suit is perfect for that.
It doesn't mean it's going to look good.
Now, if I had the body of an Olympic athlete, I'd be flaunting it. Everywhere I went. Lycra would become an important part of my wardrobe. But head-to-toe lycra isn't a good look for anyone -- regardless of the shape they're in. But I get it, I really do: FUNCTION OVER FASHION. But whose bright idea was this:
Are those flames on her thighs? I know she's a speedskater and faster than greased lightening on those skates, but flames? On her thighs? Are they trying to make her look like a Hot Wheels car?
That's just cruel. Like Two-man luge isn't a strange enough sport, they had to put them in those outfits? No one -- I don't care how great your shape is -- can make that look not horrible. (Of course, these guys are crazy enough to do two-man luge -- which I think is code for "don't-tell-my-mom-I'm-rocketing-down-an-ice-tunnel-on-a-sled-I-can't-really-steer" -- so they have many other issues to deal with besides horrible outfits.)
Last, but not least, the strangest outfits of all: Men's Figure Skating.
Skaters, too, need to have the whole range-of-motion, non-constricting outfit need. Plus, this is an artistic sport, so uniforms are out and costumes are in. I'm totally on board with that.
Please understand that I grew up in a ballet company. The guys I went to school with wore tights every day. And they wore them on stage with little more than an interesting waist-length jacket to complete the look. I understand costuming traditions. I'm all for expression of the music and mood through fabric choices. A little glitter and pizazz never hurt anybody. I understand that tights are not in the least bit indicative of sexuality or prowess.
But, guys, honestly -- are you not getting taunted enough these days just for being a figure skater?
Do we really need to egg on the bullies with something like this:
You are strong, powerful, flexible, and graceful -- not a combo we see in most male athletes. You are also wearing extremely sharp blades on your feet. You could could probably combine some kind of spinning-jump-kick and remove my head with those things. You are practically a lethal weapon. Set to classical music. You're a martini and a gun away from being James Freakin' Bond. Come on, guys, can you show me some testosterone?
And then there's atrocities like this:
Who told this couple those outfits were anything other than ridiculous? They look like the the junior high drama club's costume department threw them together on a Saturday morning from stuff they grabbed out of the craft closet. Did they lose a bet? (I'd say yes, but as you can tell from the captions above, they wore this costume twice. On purpose.)
Now, I understand that most of the athletes -- other than the skaters -- don't have a lot of choice in their Olympic wear, and their focus is on winning. Not on how that red-white-and-blue lycra suit would make even the most buff and toned look strangely lumpy in places. I will raise an eyebrow, but realize that function trumps form for a gold medal.
The snowboarders? I want to tell them to pull up their pants.
The skaters? Don't you just know that Clinton and Stacy are dying to burst into the dressing rooms and clear the racks of costumes?
But no matter what I think of what any of them are wearing, I bow to their dedication, discipline and drive. Not just Team USA, but all the athletes who train their whole lives for a shot at a medal. The fact you're at the Olympics at all puts you in a whole different class.
So, was there an outfit at the Olympics that bugged you?
PS: Julie Cohen blogs tomorrow on something creepier than that pair's outfits...